Imperial Tobacco is a UK originated international tobacco company, headquartered in Bristol, England.

The history of Imperial Tobacco can be traced back to 1786, when the tobacco company WD and HO Wills was founded in Bristol. In 1901 in response to an American threat to take over the British tobacco industry, WD and HO Wills joined with John Player&Sons and eleven other family-run businesses to form the Imperial Tobacco Company

In October 1996, after ten years with Hanson PLC, Imperial regained its corporate independence and the Imperial Tobacco Group PLC was listed on the London Stock Exchange as a FTSE 100 company.

Between 1987 and 1995 productivity had almost trebled, the brand portfolio had been refocused and market share had increased. The management actively sought to strengthen Imperial's position in profitable overseas markets.

Since 1996 Imperial has invested heavily in new technology with more than £170 million spent in the Horizon Nottingham factory (UK) alone.

Imperial's efficient production base has further enhanced its international success.

In early 1997 Imperial acquired Rizla, the world's number one manufacturer of rolling papers.

In 1998, Imperial bought the Netherlands-based tobacco business of Douwe Egberts Van Nelle and its famous Drum, Van Nelle, Amphora and Winner brands of roll-your-own and pipe tobacco.

Acquiring businesses of such calibre further strengthened Imperial's presence in Europe and enhanced its distribution capabilities across the product range.

To build on its worldwide position, Imperial Tobacco continued its expansion through acquisition. In September 1999 a portfolio of quality cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and rolling paper brands was acquired in Australia and New Zealand, together with a factory at Petone, New Zealand, creating a major market presence on the Pacific Rim.

The Baelen Group, a Belgian manufacturer of roll-your-own tobacco, was acquired in September 2000 and a month later the EFKA Group, a German-based manufacturer of rolling papers and tubes, became part of Imperial Tobacco.

In December 2000 Imperial's vending subsidiary, Sinclair Collis, acquired Mayfair Vending.

Early in 2001 Imperial announced the purchase of a 75 per cent interest in Tobaccor for £179 million. This share has since increased to 87.5% with terms agreed to purchase the remaining 12.5% by December 2005. Tobaccor is the second largest cigarette manufacturer/distributor in Sub-Saharan Africa, with expanding interests in Vietnam.

This acquisition transformed Imperial's presence on the African continent and provided a springboard for further growth in Asia.

In August 2001, Imperial announced that it had entered into an agreement with Philip Morris International for the distribution and sale of Marlboro, Raffles and Chesterfield cigarettes in the UK.

Marlboro is the world's best-selling premium American blend cigarette and complements the existing Imperial portfolio of Virginia blend cigarettes sold in the UK.

In May 2002 Imperial acquired a 90.01% interest in Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken GmbH, the German-based international tobacco company. This acquisition marked a strategic evolution of Imperial's business and reinforced its commitment to become a global tobacco company.

Reemtsma's strong market positions in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia provided a natural complement to Imperial's major market strengths in the UK, Western Europe, Australasia and Africa.

Imperial acquired the remaining shares of Reemtsma in 2004, in accordance with an option agreement entered into at the time of acquisition.

In May 2004 Imperial acquired the business and assets of the filter tubes manufacturer CTC Tube Company of Canada, strengthening the Group's position in the growing papers and tubes markets and further enhancing its broad multi-product portfolio.

In 2005 Imperial Tobacco invested in Skruf, a Swedish manufacturer of snus, and the following year acquired Gunnar Stenberg AS, a Norwegian distributor of tobacco products and accessories.

Imperial Tobacco acquired the worldwide Davidoff cigarette trademark in 2006.

In 2007, Imperial acquired Commonwealth Brands, the fourth largest US cigarette manufacturer. Imperial Tobacco acquired a 66 per cent stake in Tremaco, an Estonian distributor.

In June 2008 Imperial acquired Altadis, the world's fifth largest cigarette manufacturer and world leader in cigars.

We have a successful track record of integrating our acquisitions and rapidly generating returns. We shall continue to seek and execute further acquisitions which meet our established strategic and financial criteria.

Since 1997 we have spent more than £17 billion on acquisitions. For detailed information click http://www.imperialtobacco.co.uk/index.asp?page=43